Add Fallen Leaves To Your Vegetable Garden

fallen leaves

Although most of the country is in the middle of winter, there are still some southern areas that are dealing with raking leaves. Unfortunately, I was not able to get outside much during the fall, so my leaf-raking duties have gotten very behind. I would like to tell you what I do with my fallen leaves, and how I apply them to my garden space.

Mow Your Leaves, Don’t Rake

Many people have different methods of tackling their fallen leaves, but I like to mow my leaves using a mulching blade on the lawnmower. I also use the bag attachment to catch all the mower discharge, or as I sometimes say, the mower goodies.

Once the mower bag gets full, I dump the contents into my garden space – roughly spreading it out as I go. When I have finished mowing the whole yard, I then come back and and mow over the leaves that I placed in the garden again. This will help to chop up the leaves a bit more finer.

At this time, I dump the bag contents back into the garden again, and try to spread it out as evenly as possible. By now my garden has a nice layer of chopped up fallen leaves and grass clippings.

Soak It Down

I take a water hose and spray the area down, making sure to thoroughly soak the leaves. Wetting the leaves will help to speed up the decomposition, and keep them from blowing away in case the wind picks up. Now I just let the mulched-up leaves sit and “ferment” for a while – usually about a month.

Gardener’s Gold

At this point the leaves are beginning to decompose, and adding valuable nutrients to the garden soil. When it gets closer to Spring (and planting time), I will use a garden fork to gently loosen the soil, and mix in the decomposing leaves.

Adding your fallen leaves can add beneficial microbes to your soil, and give those handy earthworms a nice treat when they become active in the spring.

So the next time you start bagging up those fall leaves, try adding some to your garden for an extra garden soil boost come Spring.

Cons To Spreading Leaves In The Garden

Some gardeners do not approve of walking on your garden soil because it compacts the soil. Compacting the soil makes the soil more difficult to work, and also makes it more difficult for plant roots to grow. I wouldn’t recommend holding a game of flag football in your garden space, but just a little walking shouldn’t do too much damage. Just try to limit as much walking on it as possible.

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4 Comments on Add Fallen Leaves To Your Vegetable Garden

  1. I have so many tree’s which give me so many leaves. Is it possible to lay all these leaves down on my garden plot wet them down, then cover them with a three layers of newspaper. I was hoping this would help speed up the decomposing of the leaves and also help the very poor soil that I have. Will this work? My soil is very compacted and sandy full of rocks and clay. Any suggestions?

  2. I have so many leaves and would like some suggestions on how to make a leaf mold. Can i use the three bin compost idea to turn the leaves into compost? I was thinking of using fourteen small bales of straw to make the compost piles. Right now I have them in small to medium piles around the front yard. We are surrounded by so many trees and I would really like to turn this into compost for next years garden. Any new ideas would really be helpful.

  3. I’m building a leaf mold using bales of straw, after it is done and the leaves are wet down. Should I cover it with a tarp to help speed up the leaves decomposing? Also do I have to turn these piles during the winter months?

    • I see no one has left a comment or reply on this site for a year. Humm.
      Ellen, my experience with leaves from my acre is to let Mother Nature do some of the work. I have about 40 trees of different varieties on about an acre. In the fall, the leaves cover it. I rake a big pile into a shady area on the down slope of the land. I don’t do anything else to them until next fall (a year). My experience is that it is not what is at the top of your pile but what is at the bottom of it after a year. Black gold. I use this to cover my garden plots or areas that will become garden plots. Doing this I have a recurring supply of mulch every fall. It is far better than what I can buy.

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